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AT&T exclusivity, Steve Jobs' personal war against Flash, and app rejections played a big role in Apple dropping behind Android in the smart phone market.  (Source: AP)
I have a bit of advice for Apple on how to avoid slipping further...

Oh iPhone, you are:
Open yet closed, weak yet strong
If but you were free.

-A haiku on the iPhone's bump to third place

No one wants to be second place in most races, but in the smartphone war, that's precisely what Android has aimed for over the last couple quarters.

RIM rests atop smartphone sales charts thanks to the fact that the smartphone population initially consisted almost exclusively of business users -- a group that still makes up a large portion of the total smartphone market.  

Apple's iPhone changed the market by delivering the first smartphone truly accessible for the masses.  True, others (Windows Mobile phones, Palm designs) could argue ownership of such a title.  But Apple's App Store, advertising blitz, and slick hardware won over the masses like never before.  And they earned it a solid spot at number two -- a very desirable place to be.

Then came Android.  Google's OS didn't start off beautifully.  From the start many questioned the patchwork alliance, the at times unclear objectives of the project, and lacking first generation hardware such as the first Android handset, the G1 phone.

But slowly, Google began to catch up and pick up steam.  It picked up multi-touch.  Its hardware partners, particularly HTC, flooded hot new designs onto every major U.S. carrier.  These designs like the HTC Incredible and Motorola Droid (Milestone) matched the iPhone in hardware or came awful close.

Apple still had one key advantage -- the App Store.  Google's app count will soon hit 50k, but that pales in comparison to the 150,000 apps that the App Store has.  But Apple made some critical missteps.  First, it banned Flash from the iPhone.  Then it even banned Flash ports to native code, further alienating both developers and customers.  Second, it practiced inconsistent policing the App Store.  Sometimes it rejected apps only to later approve them, other times it approved them only to reject them.  Google, too did a bit of this, but Apple did it far more often.

In the end it's easy to see why Apple lost the coveted second place position to the army of Android handsets.  How could its one handset on one (U.S.) carrier hope to keep up with a plethora of high end handsets backed by a multitude of carriers and a more open app marketplace?

If Apple feels bad, we can only wonder where that leaves Palm (recently acquired) and Microsoft's Windows Mobile division who have been bumped further down the ladder as well.  At least Apple still is solidly holding on to its third place position.

I've developed apps for the iPhone, and while I admit I am now eyeing the Android phones, I still have a soft spot for the old iPhone.  I bear it no ill will.

Thus it is out of best wishes that I give Apple the following advice:
1.  Adopt multiple carriers in the U.S.  Lucrative exclusive contracts are not worth cornering yourself into obscurity.
2.  Release multiple phones.  You already did this with the iPod -- imagine how hot an iPhone Nano would be!
3.  Most important -- drop the rhetoric on Flash and shore up the app approval process.  If you want to be the world's premiere mobile applications provider, there's little room for such poor behavior as you have shown.

If Apple can follow such advice, perhaps it can once again become competitive in the race.  Otherwise, with other hungry competitors (Palm, Microsoft) and hot new Android handsets (Samsung Galaxy, HTC EVO) it seems destined to sink down the sales charts, much like Palm before it. 



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why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By samiup on 5/10/2010 2:46:55 PM , Rating: 5
when the iPhone came first, it was incontestably THE best choice for non business customers and it was clearly superior to any Blackberry or palm out there.

but when the Droid came out, it was clearly a superior product than the iPhone, it IS faster, HAS a WWWAAAY larger display and almost TWICE the resolution, HAS Google maps in REAL time not some whacko maps app, and IS on a much BETTER network with a much consistent/faster 3G network and can connect to ANY computer via USB.

so at this point of time, besides being stupid, biased or brain damaged, i dont see why anyone would go for an iPhone.




RE: why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By Enoch2001 on 5/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By daveinternets on 5/10/2010 6:01:15 PM , Rating: 4
Interesting points. I guess your legitimacy can be boiled down to:

iPhone pretty. Android ugly.


By Bateluer on 5/11/2010 8:01:17 AM , Rating: 3
Dang, beat me to it. :p

Technically, he is right about a few things though. Namely, that you can plug an iPod/iPhone into various models of car audio devices and play your music. However, since most Android phones come with standard Micro or Mini USB connectors, I don't believe it would be difficult to implement these features for Android either. And given their meteoric growth, its almost a given that car audio makers will begin to implement this.

On the comments about Android being a clutterfvck of an OS, that's way off base. The elegance of the iPhone OS comes from its simplicity, its limited functionality, and restricted user capability. To say that Android is a cluttered mess because of its vast array of capabilities, ever expanding, I must add, and the user freedom it offers is absurd.


RE: why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By Chudilo on 5/14/2010 10:04:46 AM , Rating: 2
The stock headunit in my 2010 Mazda 3 pairs with my Moto Droid (music and phone profiles) over Bluetooth (with full steering wheel controls and everything). This allows me to stream Pandora and Slacker over the air, thanks to a reliable Verizon's 3G network without any hiccups. thuis is during my long commute which is about an hour.


RE: why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By icanhascpu on 5/10/2010 10:34:34 PM , Rating: 1
First off, the Driod is a great phone. I am happy it exists as it will drive other to improve on it, and that is good for us as consumers. (competition).

However you sound like a fanboy. Is it really needed? The Driod is better hardware-wise, but you acting like an apple fanboy (but just for different hardware) doesn't help.

The Driod display is .2 inches bigger. Very nice! But thats not "WWWAAAY larger". I am hoping 4" will become the standard soon. Seems like the optimal size for a handheld device. Maybe 5" if they make the whole screen seamless on the front (drool).

Also the Driod has 2.5x the resolution. Or are you not talking about the Incredible?

It is in ALL of our best interests Apple catches upto the incredible at least in terms of technical ability (iPhoneHD) even if you do not want to get the phone. It drives costs down and gives added incentive for google and moto to produce a better phone faster.


By cheetah2k on 5/11/2010 1:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
Jobs said that if you want P0rn, then buy an Android phone.

I tend to agree. I think my Nexus One is phone P0rn. It's so sexy and it delivers ;-)


RE: why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By Ted Landry on 5/11/10, Rating: 0
RE: why would anyone buy an iPhone?
By Bateluer on 5/11/2010 8:10:59 AM , Rating: 4
Uh, what? The upcoming iPhone will likely have hardware on par with recently released Android phones, such as the Evo and the Incredible. Perhaps slightly better. But only for a short period until the next crop of smartphones hits.

Best UI is a strictly relative opinion to the user. I couldn't stand the overly simple UI of the iPhone, neither was I particularly crazy about Android's stock UI. Fortunately, there are hundreds of available themes available for Android phones, allowing me complete freedom to have the device look and feel anyway I wish.

With multi-tasking, I believe WebOS would likely get the best implementation for multi-tasking by popular vote. The multi-tasking on the iPhone is extremely limited, only a paltry handful of Apple approved applications. That's not multi-tasking, period. By Apple's logic, the user is too stupid to manage their own applications on their device.

And where do you hear that Android sales have been slow? Sales of the Moto Droid exceeded those of the iPhone 3GS during the first 74 days, and has continued to sell very well. Sales of the Droid Incredible has also been impressive, with the device being sold out of most Verizon stores and periodically going in and out of backorder on the web site. Fact of the matter is, Android handsets move off shelves. Just because one single device doesn't dwarf the iPhone sales does not mean that Android handset sales are stagnant. Tally up all the sales of Android devices, and they'll easily dwarf the iPhone sales in the same manner that PC sales dwarf sales of Mac computers.


By corduroygt on 5/15/2010 6:11:35 PM , Rating: 1
If you read the study that says 74 day sales of Droid are higher than the iPhone 3GS, you'll realize that it's a load of bollocks.

1. It's an estimate, not actual sales numbers from reputable tracking company like NPD.
2. They use original iPhone sales to estimate the 3GS sales, which is BS. The original iPhone was $499/$599 with no subsidies, vs the 3GS at $199/$299.

So I'd appreciate if you wouldn't use some two-bit website's estimate to declare the motorola droid outsold the iphone 3gs, because in all likeliness, it didn't. Hell, all Android's combined with BOGO deals can barely pass the iphone by itself, the moto droid surely isn't enough by itself.

I've used the Motorola Droid, and it's nowhere as easy to use as the iphone, and the hardware keyboard is too stiff and dreadful. The HTC incredible looks much better though, I'll admit.


AT&T is the main problem
By wendallyn on 5/10/2010 3:38:12 PM , Rating: 2
Being a pseudo geek, I really wanted an iPhone. As a long time Sprint customer I started to do my research. I compared the iPhone and Sprint's first answer to the iPhone, which wasn't so great. But then I found out that iPhone service is $30/month ON TOP of the phone plan. Any other smart phone from AT&T was only $10/month extra. So I got a cool touch phone and went with AT&T, saving $20/month by not getting the iPhone. Then I went home. The dang phone would not make an outgoing call! My mom was in the hospital and i could NOT make a call. And my inbound calls got cut off a lot.
Needless to say, as much as I would crave the iPhone, if the service doesn't work, what good is it? So, back to Sprint for me. Luckily I keep getting previews of the HTC EVO 4G coming out in LA this summer- I can't wait!! Android, here I come.




RE: AT&T is the main problem
By bill4 on 5/10/2010 5:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
I know, the Evo is the phone I finally settled on and was all excited. Also Sprint's plan prices are the best, whereas say Verizon is way overpriced, besides that Verizon has the worst network in America (since Mick says it is best).

Then I found out that Sprint has spotty coverage in my work building. It's a huge 36 acre metal building that can play havoc with cell reception, so only the strongest signals get through, even if it works fine if you step outside. AT&T (best network since Mick says is worst) I know works great.

Anyways it just kind of sucks, I was all psyched for the Evo, the pricing looks great, and now it seems I may not be able to get it.


RE: AT&T is the main problem
By Bateluer on 5/11/2010 8:03:31 AM , Rating: 2
Your post confuses me. Its common knowledge and a verifiable fact that Verizon has more coverage and signal strength relative to other carriers in CONUS.


RE: AT&T is the main problem
By wempa on 5/11/2010 12:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, seriously. I have a bunch of friends with Iphones and almost all of them complain about the lousy AT&T service. I actually considered switching from Verizon to AT&T when the iPhone first came out. I'm so glad I waited it out and got an Android phone.


HTC Incredible Is Great
By wempa on 5/10/2010 2:14:21 PM , Rating: 5
My wife and I just got HTC Incredibles. They are absolutely awesome. I was surprised at how many applications are available for the Android OS, lots of them free. I seriously think they are going to give Apple some stiff competition.




Fun to watch
By ik on 5/10/2010 2:42:06 PM , Rating: 4
It's fascinating watching the slow-motion, deja vu trainwreck that is Apple coming to market with a revolutionary product and ruining themselves with their proprietary models. How many times is Jobs going to do this?




RE: Fun to watch
By icanhascpu on 5/10/2010 10:22:18 PM , Rating: 1
For as long as it is successful as hell. No stock holder cares about anti apple blogs. lol


NPD = Fake report
By vision33r on 5/12/2010 2:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
Don't care about these fake reports. The trust is RIM is still king without a super-duper hardware nor a bigger screen.

Apple will still lit up the sales charts with their emotion driven releases.

Android is nowhere to be found on the streets, I don't even see anyone uses them.

So much for the NPD claims. Show me in the real-world.




RE: NPD = Fake report
By iFX on 5/12/2010 2:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree. There is no way these phones are 20%+ market share, there's too much existing hardware in the wild.

RIM still rules the corporate world which is the majority of smartphone sales and use, whether anybody likes it or not.


By bldckstark on 5/10/2010 4:43:16 PM , Rating: 3
1. A new iPhone per year does not equal 15 new Android phones per year. The numbers will skew Apple's direction after the iPhone 4 release, but only until the holiday season. (Illegal? No charges have been filed.)

2. Do you know why they are dumping them on the market? Because they get a slice of the profits from EVERY advertisement that gets shown on an Android phone via admob. Android phones are the gift that keeps on giving (back to the carrier!). They can give the phones away and still make money on them.

3. The iPhone gen 4 is not going CDMA this year. That means another year of AT&T only.

I'm an ex-Blackberry user. Don't underestimate RIM. People are using those phones for a reason. The messaging on those phones is the best, bar none.

I just got the Incredible. I waited a long time to get an Android phone because Android just wasn't ready yet, but this phone has it all. My iPhone friends are all jealous. They didn't even realize how tightly their phone is wrapped up until I show them simple things like changing the background.


Open to other carriers
By johngotts1 on 5/10/2010 2:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps if Apple allowed the many other carriers to offer the iPhone they could have kept the market and actually completely taken over the market that Android later came along and took.

This is a new market for consumers, as noted in this article, and Apple missed an opportunity to take the consumer space by storm. As an iPhone user in the Palo Alto area I can also say that AT&T sucks and constantly drops calls. Options for other carriers would have been nice and still would be.




One Carrier is the problem
By transporter2000 on 5/10/2010 2:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
The main reason why we're seeing a rise in Android phones is because people refuse to switch to AT&T for the iPhone. I can understand their position if you can't even get a signal where you live.

A recent poll showed of those who are "currently Verizon subscribers, 19% said they were "very likely" to buy an iPhone if it became available to the carrier, with another 34% answering that they were "somewhat likely" to buy. Both numbers were higher than those for either Sprint or T-Mobile subscribers." Quoted PC world.

Thus Android is the phone people are going with because the iPhone isn't an option on AT&T. That's why it was stupid for Apple to renew any exclusivity with AT&T. It's time to bring the iPhone to other carriers.




Apple prohibitive? DUH..
By alaskan on 5/10/2010 2:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
I am still amazed to this day that people are surprised by apples moves to control and prohibit features and functionality.. How many of you people that "Report" on apple, actually research this company and its history? From the blogs and reports out there I would say hardly anyone. Otherwise you would know that what Steve Jobs and Apple are doing is nothing new. They have always been a controlling company and controled every aspect of Apple product.
I find it funny when people complain about microsoft as being controlling because compared to Apple, microsoft is opensource! Microsoft writes OS and Office software.. They do not restrict anyone from installing their software (as long as you purchased it) on any piece of hardware you want.
Apple on the other hand prohibts you from purchasing or installing their OS on anything but an apple sold piece of hardware.. Of course some will say this ensures the stuff works but that is a load of B.S. and if you subsribe to that camp you are a mindnumbed fanboy/girl..
Steve Jobs is a very very smart salesman and business CEO.. But he is not an engineer and he is not about getting the best tech out there.. He's about getting his tech out there and making the most money off it.. (there is nothing wrong with that either.) I just wish you bloggers and apple fans would be honest with yourselves about it.




Motorola Milestone
By eddieroolz on 5/10/2010 5:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
Even with my rather unique phone preferences, favoring the Japanese imported models, the Motorola Milestone stands out as being the ONLY Western phone I will ever consider owning. Android and how well it runs on the Milestone amazes me.




If Apple Cared...
By elmikethemike on 5/10/2010 8:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
If Apple cared about having the #1 phone operating system, they'd open the doors to multiple carriers. Clearly this isn't a concern of theirs at all. And it doesn't mean anything.

At a time when the government is looking at apple through an anti-competitive lens, this is actually great news for Apple. "Hey look, were #3, how the heck are we a monopoly?"




let them die
By muhahaaha on 5/12/2010 12:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Sir Mick, you can't tell Apple and Steve Jobs what is good for them. They know how to drive themselves out of business, since they've nearly done it several times.




let them die
By muhahaaha on 5/12/2010 12:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
Jobs is a drunk workin on blowing out liver #2.




Suspect figures
By blueline99 on 5/10/2010 3:26:33 PM , Rating: 1
Doesn't anyone question these numbers... the Daily Tech doesn't even source how these figures were gathered.

They were gathered by on-line surveys and did not include business accounts.

These figures are not based on sales figures, which is really the only measurement.




Why is Mick so stupid...
By bill4 on 5/10/2010 5:48:46 PM , Rating: 1
About constantly qouting raw app numbers as if they're incredibly important? He qoutes 150k Apple apps vs 50k Droid apps as if it means Apple has 3x better apps, when the truth is 99% of those 150k iPhone apps are shovelware.

I think once you reach a certain number of apps, and I'd argue Droid has long since passed it, the raw numbers dont matter at all. They are equivalent in apps imo. The average person will only use a few apps, and as long as their are quality apps in a few major fields available, raw numbers become irrelevant.




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